Check out our team and individual preview of the Maine Festival of
Champions. We look at the top teams in Maine, as well as out of state
participants. Then we examine the top individual boys from Maine and
Teams to Watch from Maine
The Red Storm find themselves one of the top teams in the state once again this fall coming into the meet ranked #1 in the latest Fifth Quarter/MileSplit XC poll. This is a theme that has repeated itself over and over again since 2003. Scarborough who finished as the runner-up to Cumberland, RI a year ago will be looking to take the top spot this fall. They will be looking to end the title drought as they last won the team title at FOC in 2010. Currently they sit in a tie with Cumberland, RI for the most teams wins in meet history (4). The senior trio of Colin Tardiff, Connor Doherty & Andrew Sholl pace the attack for the Red Storm, each of individuals has won a race this fall and all have run under 16:50 at one point. The key for Scarborough will be there #4 & #5 runners (Luke Grover & Andrew Goodwin), both were under 18 minutes last week at Cheverus and will need to repeat that form this week for optimal success. Not only will they be trying to dethrone Cumberland, RI, they will be matching up against their rival Falmouth, in what could be a Class A state meet preview.
The Yachtsmen keep on rolling in 2015, after graduating some top runners a year ago, they find themselves right back at the top again. Falmouth is undefeated on the season, having beat a couple of top Class B teams in Freeport & Greely and enter the meet ranked #2 in Fifth Quarter/MileSplit XC poll. So far this fall the 1-5 spread is just 40 seconds with seniors Josh Simensky & Sean Soucy leading the way. Newcomer to XC Jeremiah Sands is a huge reason why Falmouth is where they are right now, he clocked 17:13 at Freeport two weeks ago before missing the last 2 meets. Freshman John Auer will be one of the top runners in the freshman race, he will provide the standard for the varsity to chase. The one thing Falmouth has going for them is strong depth with a top 7 separated by just 1:09. Can Falmouth match up with the Red Storm, it will be a question that will be answered after Saturday.
The Wildcats opened the season short-handed (missing 2 of the top 5) and the result was a 1 point loss to Wells in the opening season meet at Laudholm Farm. Since that meet York has established itself as the Class B team favorite once again beating defending champion Freeport 31-34 in the process. York's strength is it's 40 second split for the top 5. At a meet at home last week against Cape Elizabeth, the Wildcast went 1-5 for the perfect score. Leading the way this fall has been Sam Sewall who along with the rest of the senior class will be looking to win the school's first xc state title later this fall, but in the meantime they are built to have a strong run against all classes on Saturday.
The Red Riots have been cruising along this fall winning several invitationals (Lee, Lynx & Sectional). Orono has been led by Tristan Butterfield & Matt Keresey, both runners have won races. The 1-5 split of 42 seconds is a strong suit of Orono, and will help in a big race like Saturday. Not only will Orono be looking to take down the larger Class A & B schools but will seeing how they stand up in Class C.
The Blue Blazes are one of the most improved teams in the state this fall, and enter FOC ranked #8 in the Fifth Quarter/MileSplit Poll. Westbrook has a strong 1-5 gap of 1:15 with 5 runners under 18:15. Leading the way has been junior Josh Lombardo who has run under 17 minutes (16:59.92) while Amanuel Sentayehu one of the most improved runners in the state. The Blue Blazes are coming of a single point loss to Windham, and will be looking to make a name for themselves on Saturday.
The Hawks had been laying low in 2015 until last week at Thornton Academy where they showed the potential they have to be one of the top teams in Class A this fall. Brody Bate ran under 17 minutes for 5k last week, and the Hawks 2-3 runners (Biruk Moore & Matt Pritchett) followed with times of 17:16 & 17:37 respectively. They will look to continue the momentum from a week about on Saturday to see how they match up against the rest of the state.
The upstart Broncos have been one of the top teams in the KVAC this fall running undefeated to this point. They have one of the top individuals in the state in junior Paul Casavant who has yet to lose in the regular season, and is coming off perhaps his finest run of the season a 17:07 effort on the tough Cony course. Freshman Wyatt Lord has been a big add for the Broncos as well, he'll be one to watch in the freshman race, and is the top seed. Lord has a best time of 17:16 5k under his belt already this year. For Hampden to move up the ranks they'll need a strong day for their #4 & 5 runners who have season best times of 19:01 & 19:02.
Teams to Watch from Away
Based off seeds Cumberland, RI the defending champion at FOC are the favorites to repeat. With front runners Sean Laverty the top individual returner & the emergence of Benjamin Drezek (16:18) they have firepower at the front. They are complemented nicely with seniors James Haupt (21st a year ago) & Will Mardo (54th). Mardo will be one to watch he ran 17:01 at Ocean State last weekend. Rounding out the top 5 for Cumberland is junior Harry Travers (17:06) 5k best this fall.
Harwood Union, VT
Harwood might be flying under the radar based of seeds but they had a big day last weekend as the won the small school division at the Manchester Invitational. These type of performances mean they can compete with the some of the top Maine schools.
Boys to Watch from Maine(*based off of results from 2015)
Casavant has run undefeated this fall in the KVAC, and enters the meet as the #6 ranked athlete on the MaineTrackXC Watchlist. His fastest time of the fall came on his home course two weeks ago when he ran 16:37.39 for 5k, he followed that up with a strong when on the tough Cony course where he ran 17:07.95 the 5th fastest individual in course history. A year ago as a sophomore Paul finished 13th running 16:26, a time that is still his PR, he'll be looking to lower that on Saturday.
2015 5K Results for Casavant
Doorow the #2 ranked athlete on the MaineTrackXC Watchlist has been dominating his competition all fall in fact the lowest winning margin has been 1:18. Osman who showed his potential last spring when he ran 9:29.85 for 3200m to place 5th in the New England Championship meet out of the slow section has carried over that confidence to XC. Look for Doorow to challenge for the win against the out of staters. If his 16:18 clocking at Leavitt two weeks is any indication of his fitness, a sub 16 could be in the cards, only one other runner, Mt Blue's Kelton Cullenberg 16:09 has run faster at Leavitt. Cullenberg ran 15:44 at FOC after that performance good for the 7th fastest in meet history.
2015 5K Results for Doorow
Walfield showed his summer training went well with his 34:10 clocking for 10k in the Beach to Beacon where he was the top Maine HS runner has continued on with a successful fall to date. Chris has raced 5k twice so far this year earning wins in both race. His most recent effort was three weeks on the Belfast course where he cruised to an easy win with a 16:31.77 performance which has him ranked #7 athlete on the MaineTrackXC Watchlist. Walifeld placed 10th in the meet last year with his lifetime best 16:19 for 5k.
2015 5K Results for Walfield
Tardiff has been progressing each meet this fall, he started with a sub par effort on his home course where he was be-felled by a cramp, but he has rebounded nicely in his last 2 5k's that have him ranked #10 on the MaineTrackXC Watchlist. Last week at Thornton Academy he took the win with his best time of the year 16:40. Colin is no stranger to running well at FOC, he placed 17th as a sophomore & 27th a year ago.
Hassett has had a strong start to his junior campaign, winning early season invitationals at Ellsworth & Bucksport that have him ranked #5 on the MaineTrackXC Watchlist. The times john has been running are just about a minute faster than he was a year ago which is a good sign as he clocked a 16:56 in the meet a year ago. His improvement curve would indicate a low 16 minute effort is in the cards for him based off his other performances to date. A year ago John finished second in the Class C state meet, and 32nd in FOC.
2015 3 Mile Results for Hassett
Junior Tucker Pierce of Maine Coast Waldorf has enjoyed a strong start to his 2015 xc season. He was clocked 16:56 & 17:07 his two 5k efforts which have him ranked #12 on the MaineTrackXC Watchlist. Tucker has never run in the Festival of Champions, but he did run a 17:10 last fall at the Class C state meet to help lead his team to the state title. Look for Pierce to be in shape to chase his 16:56 PR from earlier in the year.
One of the dynamic trio for the Red Storm, Doherty a senior is the top state meet returner from the defending Class A team champions, he placed 14th a year ago. Connor is off to great start this fall, having run between 16:44 & 17:07 for 5k this fall, and only losing to his teammates. His 16:44 clocking a week ago is the second fastest 5k of his career, and has him ranked #14 on the MaineTrackXC Watchlist. Doherty is primed to improve on his 40th place effort at FOC from a year ago.
2015 5K Results for Doherty
Sholl, a senior from Scarborough, has opened his final xc season in impressive fashion running between 16:48-17:08 each time out, highlighted by a 16:48 win at Cheverus. Sholl finished 38th at FOC last year running 17:03, so his early season times indicate he's ready to drop his pr by a good margin on Saturday. Currently for his efforts so far in 2015 he is ranked #13 on the MaineTrackXC Watchlist.
2015 5K Results for Sholl
Hoyle has been a surprise this fall winning all but one races to this point. He opened his season with a 3rd at Laliberte Invitational taking off over a minute from this time from a year ago. He's followed that up with 5k wins at Mt Blue & Waterville, two tough courses that don't yield blazing fast times but improving significantly on his times from 2014. Zachariah runs well at Belfast, he was 28th (16:49) at FOC a year ago, and was 19th in the Class A state meet (16:56). If Hoyle's earlier season improvements hold true a new pr should be coming on Saturday.
2015 5K Results for Hoyle
Marshwood junior Brody Bate is coming off a personal best 16:50 clocking for 5k at Thornton Academy where he ran within 10 seconds of the Scarborough trio of Tardiff, Doherty & Sholl. If that race is any indication Bate is no afraid to mix it up with some of the state's best and be competitive. A year ago at Bate was 70th at FOC (17:41), he'll be looking to run closer to a minute faster this year.
2015 5K Results for Bate
Runners to Watch from Away
Last year's runner-up and #11 performer all-time in meet history is back looking for the top spot and to move up the performance list. Laverty who has raced twice this fall ran 15:54 in his opening meet for third. Sean who isn't afraid to push the pace will probably have to do that on Saturday, the question will be who will go with him.
Murphy will be running as an individual in the meet, he opened his 2015 campaign with a fine 16:13 effort finishing behind the aforementioned Laverty at the Injury Fund Carnival. He brings strong credentials to the race having won the Class B State title last year, and a 16th place in the RI All-State meet.
Drezek has had a strong start to his 2015 season running between 16:18 & 16:23 three times so far. His most recent result was a 16:23 effort at the Ocean State Invitational last weekend where he placed 11th in a strong field.